PERRY, Iowa — Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar are running against more than just their opponents. The pair are speaking more openly, in different ways, about what their campaigns see as an obstacle they alone face: sexism on the campaign trail.
Three years after the Women’s March and one year after a wave of female politicians rode into Congress — backed, largely, by female voters — the Democratic Party could exit Iowa and New Hampshire without a woman in the top three slots, according to early-state polling.
Warren and Klobuchar, the final remaining women with formidable support in a primary that saw a historic six female candidates run, are entering the run-up to Iowa with persistent questions of “electability” growing louder. Meanwhile, a firestorm consumed the primary this week over whether a woman can beat Donald Trump.
“We have to grapple with the fact that some people think a woman can’t win … I have heard about it from our own people [and] I’ve noticed it,” Klobuchar told POLITICO in an interview. The Minnesota Democrat called it “a real barrier” that’s only grown more obvious as the primary has ground on. It has prompted her to speak more openly about sexism, she said, “especially because I’ve seen my very qualified sisters have to leave the race — that was really, for me, a turning point.”
But Klobuchar and Warren have addressed sexism is markedly different ways. In debates and on the campaign trail, Klobuchar for months has addressed it head on. Warren, by contrast, has mostly been mute on the subject — until Tuesday night’s debate.